Inmates starts with you at the bottom of a very high flight of spiraling stairs with no hand rails that look exceptionally creepy. They just keep on spiraling upward while unknown people hang in the center of the structure via chains and cages. During the player’s ascent, you also get treated to game developer credits. Interestingly, the people hanging in those cages aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary, just looking downtrodden and defeated. I got to the top of the stars and found this place is some sort of prison, but there aren’t many prisoners left. You find matches that help illuminate your way in darker parts but need to be used somewhat conservatively, you only get a couple each time you find a box. As you go you find a picture of wife and yourself torn in half, you find blocked off corridors as if during a riot desks and tables had been used as barricades. Periodically, you find notes in a cell and on rarer occasion you’ll encounter someone locked in a cell, just shaking their head ultra-fast like you see in horror movies such as Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a creepy effect, to be sure.
After a while, you find clues to talk to people, warnings to avoid some people, and puzzles to open locks which will further travel you into what you realize is your psyche. Saying anything more about the game’s story would be a spoiler since the game average playtime is only 3 or 4 hours depending how fast you are with puzzles. This time would have been decreased considerably if the player had the ability to run. Not being able to move fast made me feel like I was dragging an iron ball and chain on my ankle, constantly slowing me down. When I discovered the run-time and had experienced the game I decided to check into things, thinking maybe it had funding issues or something but found it was actually the fact that it was written and developed by one solitary person! This really explained a lot and made the game feel more ambitious but also made me wish that he had asked for a hand from a friend to give us a bit more game to enjoy.
Inmates uses the Unreal Engine 4 and when you consider it’s not a high-action game, all that power is getting put into an extremely detailed and claustrophobic environment. The deeper you get, the more things make sense but that depth has to be reached through puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles.
Final Thoughts on The Game’s Final Thoughts:
It’s always interesting when a game creator tries to capture metaphysical concepts in the form of a puzzle game. Inmates captured a dark horror feeling but didn’t seem able to quite keep hold of it. The atmosphere was beautifully rendered and immediately filled the player with dread, maybe the game should have been held back to make sure that feeling could be maintained.
Inmates Review Score(3 out of 5 stars)